Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Fair Is Fun! We Like to Go to One!

Here are some snapshots from the County Fair this week.

Big Tractors are always a hit!

I think we spent most of our time at the Children's Barnyard petting the animals. The kids are now convinced they want a puppy, chicks, and rabbits for pets.
Peter John did some milking of the goat again (he tries it every year). Success!!

Lizzy at the sheep barn.
Amy loved the sheep.

 The kids and I all entered some of our projects into the County Fair Open Class Exhibit again. Each of the kids got at least one blue ribbon for their work, and they will be able to earn some money from the fair for placing first, second, or third.  It is so fun to see what other people have produced also.  Here is the rundown of our prizes:
 Peter John:
pen drawing - 1st
pencil drawing - 1st
wood construction (toothpick) - 1st
Knex construction - 1st
Lego construction - 2nd
crayon drawing - 1st
weaving - 2nd
color pencil drawing - 3rd
freehand painting - 1st
crayon drawing - 1st
stamping - 1st
watercolor painting - 1st
crochet booties - 1st
molasses cookies - 2nd
pencil drawing - 2nd
cross stitch embroidery - 2nd
beaded bracelet - 1st
pencil drawing - 1st
watercolor painting - 3rd
construction paper and pen drawing - 3rd

watercolor painting - 1st
pencil drawing - 1st
crochet baby bonnet - 2nd
pumpkin muffins - 2nd
canned goods:
cucumbers, sliced, sour - 1st
rhubarb jelly - 1st
strawberry-rhubarb jam - 1st
pumpkin - 2nd
strawberry-rhubarb sauce - 3rd
3 bean salad - 3rd
fresh produce:
pickling cucumbers - 1st
beets - 1st
green beans - 1st

Monday, July 9, 2012

Harvesting Already

When my sister and fam were living in France they depended on this blog to give them a "virtual garden."  This year I have not been very faithful at updating the garden progress, so I will pack the past month and a half into this one blog.  We have already begun harvesting spinach, lettuce, dill, cilantro, rhubarb, and just this week the raspberries.  Today I plan to pick green string beans and yellow wax beans that are ready.
 Last month Gretchen and PJ helped me to cut up some rhubarb (it is a neverending harvest) along with our friend.
 Spinach was done in June so I blanched a froze it for green shakes or quiche in the wintertime.
 The raspberries were a little pink last week but Lizzy and Amy could not resist picking some.
 Lizzy and Amy are standing in front of part of the garden.  My corn is about chest high, but the local cornfields are more than 6 feet tall right now. It was an early spring so it has grown well beyond "knee high by fourth of July."
 Cucumbers, Zucchini, and beets.  I also have a lovely "Forget-Me-Not" that volunteered from last year.
Here is a good view of the beans (we have a ton of them), corn and most of the garden with our neighbor's house in the background.  It should be a good year, Lord willing.  God makes it grow!!!

When we got back from Colorado everything had grown a large amount, including the weeds! My mother-in-law was here for two days so one evening she helped me weed. It was so nice to have a partner in the weeding. I need to get out there again today. My in-laws are coming again today, and it is JoAnn's birthday, so I need to bake a cake, too.  Summer is great! Love it!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hot Season

 Despite the sweltering heat of the last two weeks, we are keeping busy at the Larson household.  We returned from our staff meeting in Colorado and are back to summer duties: kids' activities, gardening, housework, and support raising for our mission work. 

 Fishing at Orwell Dam with our friend, Sylvia.
 Grandma bought us some flowers to plant around the house.  Amy is my gardening helper.
Ethan, Gretchen, and Amy canoeing at Homestead Point in Bottineau.
On the way back from Colorado we drove to Bottineau, ND where Ethan's parents live and work this summer.  Lizzy and Amy were staying with them and enjoying "Grandma and Grandpa time."  We decided to stay an extra night so we could enjoy the land that Luther grew up on in the Turtle Mountains.  Ethan's dad and uncles still own some of the homestead so they enjoy camping in the wilderness there with lakes, woods, and plenty of ATV trails.  We had a blast picnicking that day along with canoeing, riding ATVs, and of course doing some work on the land.  Last fall, Ethan took two of the oldest kids along to the land to build a small road bridge over a culvert along the dirt road that was being destroyed by a slough and beavers.  There is always something to do up there to improve things, and it ties the generations together.  We love that.


Peter John and Gretchen have been earning some of their own money on local paper routes.  It has been lots of work for Mom and Dad, too, helping them get set up, make decisions, and solve problems.  My friend Angie's kids have paper routes and it has instilled a great work ethic in them and given them some of their own spending cash.  When Ethan was growing up, he and his siblings had paper routes, too, so this is nothing new for his family.  It has been a great way for them to get to know some neighbors who seem to really like these two kiddos.  

Most of this week we had temps in the 90s plus high humidity. Those days were definitely a trial. The kids lacked the motivation to go out and do it.  Their dad had them wet a cap and put ice in it before placing it on their heads, plus they had plenty of water in a bottle to carry with them.  I am so proud of them for persevering through some tough days.  They survived!  Lots of prayers were going up to God for them from Mommy.  Today we had a great rainfall and break in the heat with cool weather in the 60s!  What a relief!

Monday, July 2, 2012

June 2012 Ministry Update

Ethan returned June 16 from Athens, Greece where he was teaching for ten days recently. Here is an update from him:


I had a great teaching trip to Athens, Greece this month teaching Biblical Theology to Romanian Pastors and Leaders. What are Romanians doing in Athens? Thousands work here in the construction industry, just as they do all over Europe.  There are several large Romanian congregations, and we had people from four of them.  

In front is David Kern, my teaching Partner. The boys in front came with their dads every night (there were usually four of them).  We gave them curriculum books just like the others and they followed along intensely for four hours a night!! Wow, what is God going to do with those boys?

This was my first as an official TLI staff member, and I want to say Thank You so much for being one of our financial supporters. I told my students the first night that I am able to come and serve them because of a team of supporters who send me. I join the students in saying “Thank You” for sending me to serve! 
Our team in Minneapolis before the trip.
Our team taught 5 different groups: Romanians, Albanians, Farsi speakers from sensitive nations, Arabic speakers from nations in Africa and the Middle East, and a group of English speakers from Africa and the Phillipines; a dozen or so nations in all!
 Most of our students were extremely well read in the Scripture but few had ever seen or studied the themes of the Bible in a macroscopic view, or the story of the Bible from start to finish. So, the Biblical Theology curriculum was very exciting and helpful for them in understanding Scripture as whole.
All in all, the trip was very intense, and the teaching both challenging and fruitful. For me it is a taste of things to come and I am so amazed that God has given me the opportunity to serve with TLI!
TLI staff & wives in Colorado Springs.
Speaking of TLI, and amazing, I had a great staff meeting in Colorado Springs! I can't say enough how thankful I am to work in such a well organized ministry with such smart and experienced guys. I love their passion for the Lord and His glory in our lives, ministry, and in the nations! Despite my jump directly from Athens to Colorado, I didn't really jet lag. Thanks for your prayers!!
We had three intense days working through a lot of planning and decisions. One of the decisions was for TLI to co-locate our staff in one city… but we are not yet sure if that will be Minneapolis or Colorado Springs. That will be settled in October. Either way, we will be moving, probably next spring.
We also planned most of our TLI trips for the coming year and I will be heading to Kenya in November, Greece again in January, then some locations in South Asia. It will be a busy year, and I am very excited to get in the field and teach, as well as start writing curriculum!
Job # 1
Now that I am back from Greece I am back on the support raising trail! I will be meeting with many in the local area, and will probably take a trip out west again as well. Please pray that we can get our budget raised by this fall and begin teaching and traveling.

Prayer for this month:
 1. Praise God for the good trip to Greece, and pray for the pastors we trained as they serve Him in that city!

2. Praise God for the ministry of TLI and a great staff meeting. The needs and vision continue to grow which is exciting and sometimes overwhelming. We have more opportunites than we can serve, and we need wisdom to serve well.

  •    TLI needs 200+ pastors and students to travel as volunteer teachers next year.
  •    TLI needs 12 additional staff
  •    TLI needs at least 10 fulltime missionaries to staff positions at schools in Africa.   
3. Pray for my family as we wait to hear where TLI, and our family will be moving. We will have to make some housing decisions so please pray for wisdom here.

4. Pray for our family as we enter a season of change. It is exciting and we know God is leading us to green pastures! Pray for us to lean on and rejoice in the Lord, and lead our children joyfully and faithfully in this transition.

5. Pray for our support raising efforts and that God would bring all He calls, to partner with us!